Amazon is the biggest retailer on the planet; if any retailer understands buyer psychology it’s Amazon. And Amazon uses buyer psychology everywhere on the site, even with coupon codes.
How big is Amazon?
Amazon’s share of the US ecommerce market hit 49%. That’s 5% of all retail spending across the entire country.
To put things in perspective, this is more than Amazon’s top three competitors combined, with eBay coming in at 6.6%, Apple at 3.9%, and Walmart at 3.7% (source).
Amazon has incredible transaction volume. Shoppers purchased more than 100 million products during the Amazon Prime day in 2018 (CNBC, 2018).
With this type of volume and Amazon’s legendary reputation as being a company that tests every site detail, it’s fair to assume everything you see on Amazon is there for a reason (is there to influence your buyer psychology.
Recently, we stumbled upon an Amazon product detail page (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005KAXY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_DoCdDb1CZGAD) that looked like the following:
What stood out to us was the checkbox below the price:
The text reads “Save an extra $25.00 when you apply this coupon.“
We haven’t seen this before, and after digging around Amazon some more we saw that this checkbox only exists on a handful of products.
But what’s the purpose of this Amazon coupon code functionality?
Why is Amazon making the grill shopper click on an extra checkbox to apply this coupon?
It would certainly be easier to automatically apply the coupon to the price and show the following: “Price:
$369.99 $344.99 & FREE Shipping”.
But easier doesn’t always mean more effective.
Amazon buyer psychology
We suspect Amazon is taking advantage of buyer psychology by tapping into the shopper’s desire for control. Amazon determined that showing “Price:
$369.99 $344.99 & FREE Shipping” wasn’t as effective as allowing the shopper to activate their coupon themselves. They likely thought that shoppers would simply read the price and move on while in System 1 mode (automatic, fast, unconscious).
But the Amazon checkbox changes their buyer psychology
With a checkbox, the shopper’s System 1 thinking is interrupted. They have to slow down. They now get to make a decision—they get the pleasure of driving their own experience by applying the coupon themselves.
Definition from alleydog.com: Cognitive consistency is a psychological theory that proposes that humans are motivated by inconsistencies and a desire to change them. Cognitive inconsistencies cause an imbalance in individuals and the tension from this imbalance motivates people to alter these inconsistencies. The tension arises when thoughts conflict with each other and this tension creates a motivation to change and correct the inconsistency. When this tension is reduced balance is achieved in the individual.
How this relates to the Amazon coupon code buyer psychology example above
As we saw above Cognitive inconsistencies cause an imbalance in individuals. The individual is constantly trying to seek balance.
In this case, when the user clicks the discount activation checkbox they are signaling that they are interested in a discount. Once that announcement has been made the most consistent thing to do is to complete the purchase.
By the way, we had a lively discussion about this Amazon coupon code topic on LinkedIn too. Here is the link.